The Percussive Arts Society reviews PercussionTutor

Percussive Arts Society's Percussive Notes publication (Credit: PAS)

Percussive Arts Society’s Percussive Notes publication (Credit: PAS)

The Percussive Arts Society (PAS) is a music service organization promoting percussion education, research, performance and appreciation throughout the world. The Percussive Arts Society is the world’s largest percussion organization and is considered the central source for information and networking for percussionists and drummers of all ages.

We would like to thank the Percussive Arts Society for their review which was published in january 2014 in the Percussive Notes journal (Digital version available). Percussive Notes is the journal of the Percussive Arts Society. This journal is written for professional and student percussionists.

Here is what the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) wrote

“PercussionTutor is an iOS application designed to teach traditional world percussion styles and their transfer to drumset. The interactive application is very thorough and includes styles or “rhythms”from Cuba, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Peru, West Africa, and an in-depth collection of traditional Cuban Bata patterns.

As an example of how each style works within the application, the guaguanco page displays an image of each of the instruments that make up this traditional rhythm (clave, maraca, cascara, salidor, tres golpe, and quinto). When the play button is pressed, each of the instruments can be heard and then toggled off or on to mix a composite sound of each voice. This allows a student to isolate and learn each component of the style one voice at a time.

In addition to the mixer feature, sheet music is provided to demonstrate the rhythmic ostinatos of the given style (this is best viewed with your device turned to landscape). An “info” tab displays background and cultural details about each style, and a tempo slider is also provided to slow down or speed up each rhythm. Each style also includes a performance video that demonstrates these patterns by leading percussionists in New York City.

Navigation is simple and the layout is logical and easy to grasp. Toggles, sliders, and buttons are large, and I found no obvious bugs that prevent a solid user experience. Additional features include the ability to “star” frequently used styles so they can be quickly located, and a useful “help” section that includes tips and advice for using the app as well as specific notation guidelines. A companion book or pdf file can also be downloaded for use with the interactive playback.

The application can be purchased through the iOS App Store. The current version (2.5) comes in at 119MB and requires iOS 5 or later. It is compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, although it is not optimized for the iPad’s larger screen. Since its introduction in 2012, the application has seen a few updates, one of which included the addition of five new rhythmic styles and a new user interface. This is promising, as the developers will likely continue to contribute more content in the future. There are no in-app purchases, so users receive all features with one purchase.” – Thad Anderson, the Percussive Arts Society

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